So more news out of the Saint Hotel: After yesterday's news that Sweet Olive is closing after just three months open in the Saint Hotel, owner Michael Stoltzfus talked to the Times-Pic's Brett Anderson about the decision to leave, while a statement from the hotel's owner clarifies what's going to happen regarding the future of the hotel's restaurant options.
Basically, it seems like all involved agreed that Stoltzfus' concept just wasn't working in the hotel (it sounds like it was a little bit of a money pit for him), so he and his team are leaving. Management of the hotel's restaurant will fall to the hotel's owners until they find a chef to take it over. Importantly, the restaurant at the Saint Hotel will continue to be called Sweet Olive; it just won't have Stoltzfus or his culinary team attached to it.
Stoltzfus tells Anderson that "the space [just off the Saint's lobby] can't work for a fine dining restaurant" and that trying to keep up with the hotel's room service was "an uphill battle." (Anderson also mentions that Stoltzfus had not seen the actual dining room in its finished form before signing on.) Further:
"Throw in a noisy bar and a staff that's not all on the same page and it becomes a challenge," Stoltzfus said. "We just decided that it wasn't worth us sinking more money into."On top of that, the location is simply not ideal for a fine dining restaurant of that sort, at least not yet. (That might change as that stretch of Canal continues to see investment.) And many people simply hadn't heard of it. Stoltzfus says that "the concept" may return if he can find "the right kind of space," which is good news for the people who did know about it and loved the food. Meanwhile, much of the staff, including chef de cuisine Mason Hereford will head over to Stoltzfus' original restaurant, Coquette.
But if he opens another new restaurant with the same concept, it won't be called Sweet Olive. According to a statement sent by email by the Saint Hotel's owner, D Mark Wyant, that name is staying with the hotel. Here's Wyant's statement in full:
After discussion with Chef Michael Stoltzfus, we have decided to part ways. Michael is a very talented chef but he has decided to focus his talents and energies on his award winning New Orleans restaurant Coquette. Sweet Olive will remain the restaurant name at The Saint Hotel, serving breakfast, dinner and 24-hour room service. My family and I have been in the hotel and restaurant business for over 40 years and we will operate and manage Sweet Olive. I will be bringing in a chef and culinary team that will bring a delicious offering to all our guests.So technically Sweet Olive isn't actually closing, it's just changing away from Stoltzfus' concept. Eater has reached out for more information about how long it's going to take until the restaurant reopens.
· Chef Michael Stoltzfus Talks About Pulling the Plug on Sweet Olive [NOLA.com]
· Sweet Olive to Serve Last Dinner on Sunday [-ENOLA-]
· All Sweet Olive Coverage on Eater NOLA [-ENOLA-]